Arizona Theatre Company Launches Digital Play Lineup Aug. 18 with ALMA

Pictured, clockwise from left: Danaya Esperanza, Benjamin Benne, Catherine María Rodríguez, Amandla Jahava and Maria Amorocho.

Alma is the story of a daughter and her mother and the thread of the American dream. Written by Benjamin Benne, Arizona Theatre Company’s (ATC) 2019 Latinx Playwright Award winner, the production will launch the first of the company’s series of creative digital performance offerings.

Alma will be accessible on ATC’s website (arizonatheatre.org) as well as on Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo from Aug. 18 at 5pm through Aug. 22 at 5pm. A variety of programming around the play will also be available. There is no charge to view the play, but donations to Arizona Theatre Company are encouraged and appreciated by the organization.

A selection for the Denver Center for Performing Arts’ Colorado New Play Summit and The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference, Alma has been named one of the top eight best unproduced Latinx plays by the 50 Playwrights Project and winner of the 2019 Blue Ink Playwriting Award from 752 submissions by American Blues Theatre.

Alma is directed by Catherine María Rodríguez, who also serves as vice president of Unscripted Development and Programming for Lifetime television.

The story follows working mom Alma (Danaya Esperanza) who has singlehandedly raised her daughter, Ángel (Amandla Jahava) on tough love, home-cooked comida and lots of prayers. On the eve of the all-important SAT, Alma discovers her daughter isn’t at home studying. A schooling and la chancla (flip flop) await Ángel at home, but so does a creeping realization that more is at stake than just a test score. A sacrifice from Alma’s past weighs heavy on their present; now, Alma fears the worst nightmare may soon be their reality. Will the American Dream cost them a life together?

“Benjamin will be a force in the American Theatre, and it’s clear once you’ve heard his writing,” says ATC’s artistic director, Sean Daniels. “Also, as theater 90 minutes from the border, Arizona Theatre Company has a unique responsibility to continually center the stories of people whose lives it affects.

“As The State Theatre of Arizona, and one dedicated to equity and reflecting our community, these are the types of stories the new Arizona Theatre Company will continue to tell. Stories filled with heart, joy, family, and humanity — as we entertain, educate, connect, reflect, and unite our community,” he added.

Stage direction for Alma will be provided by Maria Amorocho. Ido Levran is the technical director and Glenn Bruner is the stage manager.

Programming surrounding the showing of Alma includes:

  • ATC’s Hang & Focus Live featuring interviews with playwright Benne and director Rodríguez by artistic director Daniels on ATC’s Facebook Live show — Aug. 14 at 4pm
  • Opening Night Live Stream on Facebook Live — Aug. 18, 5pm
  • Town Hall: “Migration, Liberation, and Belonging: A Conversation on Black Immigrant Freedom Struggles in the U.S.” An in-depth panel discussion with experts from across the country — Aug. 20, 5pm
  • ATC’s Hang & Focus Live featuring interviews with ATC Playwright-in-Residence Elaine Romero and the ATC 2020 Latinx Playwright Award Winner (to be announced Aug. 19) — Aug. 21, 4pm
  • Facebook Group Streaming — Aug. 22, 1pm
  • Facebook Talk Back with the Actors — Aug. 22, 3pm

“Our robust digital season will not disappoint,” notes Chanel Bragg, ATC’s associate artistic director. “Here at Arizona Theatre Company, we are committed to providing quality programming both on our stages and on our screens.”


Keep an eye out for the 2020–21 Performing Arts Preview in the SEPTEMBER 2020 issue of CITYSunTimes!

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